Monday, June 13, 2011

Tips for a Salmonella-Free Summer

We found this great a article on the CDC website

Salmonella can contaminate more than poultry and eggs. It sneaks its way into many foods— ground beef, pork, tomatoes, sprouts—even peanut butter. Learn what you can do to make your food safer to eat.

Salmonella is a bacteria and a common cause of foodborne illness, sometimes called "food poisoning." In the past few years, large outbreaks of illness caused by Salmonella-contaminated eggs and peanut products have made the headlines. Although many other foodborne illnesses have declined in the past 15 years, Salmonella infections have not declined at all. A new Vital Signs report on making our food safer to eat focuses on reducing contamination from Salmonella.

Don't let Salmonella sneak up on you. Seven facts that may surprise you—know the risks.  
You can get Salmonella from eating a wide variety of foods, not just from eggs and undercooked poultry. Although poultry and eggs are primary culprits, Salmonella can be found in a variety of foods including ground meat, fruits, vegetables—even processed foods such as frozen pot pies.  

Salmonella illness can sometimes be serious. In most cases, illness lasts 4–7 days, and most people recover without antibiotic treatment. But, in rare cases, people may become seriously ill. Compared with other foodborne germs, Salmonella is the deadliest. It also causes more hospitalizations as well.   

For every 1 case of Salmonella illness that is confirmed in the laboratory, there are about 30 times more cases of Salmonella illnesses that were not confirmed.Most people who get food poisoning usually do not go the doctor, and therefore don't get laboratory confirmation of exactly what made them sick. So Salmonella can cause more illness than you might suspect.   

Salmonella illness is more common in the summer. Warmer weather gives bacteria more opportunity to contaminate food. When eating outdoors in the summer, either in the backyard or on a picnic, follow these guidelines:
  • Always keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.When you're finished eating, refrigerate leftovers promptly. 
  • Don't let food sit out for more than 2 hours. On a hot day (90°F or higher), reduce this time to 1 hour.
  • Be sure to put perishable items in a cooler or insulated bag.   
You can get Salmonella from perfectly normal-looking eggs. Chicken feces on the outside of egg shells used to be a common cause of Salmonella contamination. To counter that, stringent procedures for cleaning and inspecting eggs were implemented in the 1970s. However, now there's a new cause for concern. An epidemic that started in the 1980s and continues today is due to a type of Salmonella that is inside intact grade A eggs with clean shells. This type of Salmonella can silently infect the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed.
To avoid Salmonella, you should never eat raw or lightly cooked (runny whites or yolks) eggs. Cooking reduces the number of Salmonella bacteria present in an egg. However, a lightly cooked egg with a runny egg white or yolk still poses a greater risk than a thoroughly cooked egg. Lightly cooked egg whites and yolks have both caused outbreaks of Salmonella infections. 

Salmonella is more dangerous for certain people. Although anyone can get a Salmonella infection, older adults, infants, and people with impaired immune systems are at increased risk for serious illness. In these people, a relatively small number of Salmonella bacteria can cause severe illness.
You can keep you and your family safer by remembering to:

  • Clean. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
  • Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Cook. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
  • Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate food that will spoil.
  • Don't prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Be especially careful preparing food for children, pregnant woman, those in poor health, and older adults.
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tips for cooking and eating with your kids

Christine Wansleben, chef and executive culinary director at Mise En Place Culinary Center, which offers cooking classes for both adults and kids, offers these tips:
•Younger kids, in particular, love to mimic their parents, so introduce them to all of the foods you eat, from ethnic dishes to new vegetables. "If you eat it, they may, too," she said. Never discourage them from trying new foods. You might be surprised at what they'll like.
•Take your kids to the grocery store or a farmers market, she said, and let them see and smell and touch the produce and foods you're buying. Give them a chance to pick out something they'd like to try.
•Here's a biggie: Turn meal preparation into quality time. Turn off the television and talk while chopping vegetables or making soup and sandwiches. Give kids a job to do, no matter how small.
"We have great conversations in the kitchen while my husband and I are getting the meal together," Wansleben said about her family. "Even if [the kids] are mixing the waffle mix…get them involved."
•Have your kids try at least one small bite of new foods. Wansleben tells kids in her classes that they can't say "yuck" when they taste a food they don't like because it's not polite and it might hurt someone's feelings. Instead, if they try it and don't like it, they can say "no, thank you" the next time around.
•If your child doesn't like something, ask why. "It might be the texture or color or shape that could throw them off," she said. But don't give up. Kids need to try something about a dozen times before they really know if they like it.
So the next time you make something you've made before, change it up a little. Maybe instead of steamed broccoli, add it to soup.
Just keep in mind that while hiding foods like vegetables is OK, kids need to know what the real thing is.
•Seize the teachable moments. Cooking is all about counting and measuring and colors and shapes. Kids can learn a lot while having fun.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Eat like a Greek!

From Everyday Food Magazine June 2011
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About Me

Cara Mia
Cara Mia brand was started by an artichoke grower co-op in 1955, in the “artichoke capital” of the world, Castroville, CA. The co-op opened as a freezer operator with the intent of providing consumers another means to enjoy the edible thistle all year around. The venture proved so successful that a marinating line was added in 1958. Soon sales of the marinated produce far surpassed the frozen line as consumers enjoyed the proprietary marinade that dressed the tender leaves. The Borges Group acquired Cara Mia and its proprietary spice mix/marinade recipe in 2001. Today Cara Mia is the #1 selling brand of marinated artichokes. Look for them, and the other Cara Mia marinated vegetable items, in the Produce Dept.
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